Healthy Living Blog

November is American Diabetes Month

Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,

 (Source: American Diabetes Association, )

Tina Miller 2011 Did you know that 1 in 11 Americans today has diabetes? Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many of us.



This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month—to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.


This November, the organization will showcase real-life stories of friends, families and neighbors managing the day-to-day triumphs and challenges of diabetes. The 2016 campaign, sponsored by Colgate Total® (National Oral Care Strategic Partner) and Medtronic Diabetes®, invites all of us to use #ThisIsDiabetes to share personal stories and to start a dialogue about what it really means to live with diabetes.


You can also update your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness—and don’t forget that you can always donate or sign up to become an advocate to help the American Diabetes Association continue their critical work.


To learn more and view #ThisIsDiabetes stories from around the country, check out Be sure to also follow the American Diabetes Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Reduce Your Risk


You can reduce your risk for diabetes, and even reverse diabetes with a few lifestyle changes:


  1. Control Your Weight: Overweight and obesity are the greatest contributor to the development of diabetes. Obesity increases risk by as much as 40%.  The good news is that even small weight loss efforts have a big impact.  Losing 7% to 10% of excess weight can cut diabetes risk by 50%.


  1. Get Moving! Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes.  This week the American Diabetes Association release new guidelines and recommendations for physical activity, with a focus on decreasing sedentary Research studies have shown improved blood sugar management when prolonged awake-time sitting is interrupted every 30 minutes—with three minutes or more of standing or light-intensity activities.  Stand up and walk or stretch every half hour when sitting at or desk or watching TV.   Health recommendations also include 30-60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, such as walking at a moderate pace 30 minutes daily.


  1. “Tune Up Your Diet”: The American Diabetes Association recommends a balanced healthy diet, with these four dietary changes that can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.

a.  Choose whole grains and whole grain products over highly processed carbohydrates. Multiple research studies have demonstrated that replacing refined grains with whole grain choices (whole wheat breads and cereals, whole oat, whole grain pasta and brown rice). The combination of fiber and additional nutrients found in whole grains work together to reduce type 2 diabetes risk, possibly as much as 21%.

b.  “Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee, or tea instead.” The simple sugars in sweetened beverages have a high glycemic index–that is they are converted to blood sugar quickly.  Drinking one or more sugary beverage daily increases risk for type 2 diabetes 25-31%.  One study (Nurses’ Health Study II) demonstrated an 83% higher risk for type 2 diabetes in women who drank one or more sugary beverage daily vs. women who drank less than one per month.

c.  Choose health promoting dietary fats. Polyunsaturated fats, found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes.

d.  Limit red meat and avoid processed meat; choose nuts, whole grains, poultry, or fish instead. Over consuming red meat and processed meats can increase risk for type 2 diabetes 20-51%.  When consuming makes, make it lean meats, such as loin and round cuts, to reduce saturated fats.


  1. If You Smoke, Try to Quit. Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.


  1. Alcohol Now and Then May Help. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. Some studies show that modest alcohol intake may even reduce risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already drink alcohol, keep your intake in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—modest weight loss, physical activity and a healthy diet will reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and improve blood sugar management in those with diabetes.


Recipe for Health


Tex-Mex Taco Salad Bowls


Makes 4 servings




4 (8-inch) Meijer whole wheat tortillas

1 lb. lean ground turkey

2 Tbsp. Meijer low-sodium taco seasoning

1 pkg. salad greens

½ cup low-fat cheddar cheese

1 cup True Goodness® by Meijer™ corn (fresh, canned or thawed frozen)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 avocado, diced

½ cup yogurt salsa ranch dressing





  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lightly spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray. Turn a 12-cup muffin tin upside down and nestle tortillas in the space between 4 cups to form a bowl.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until firm and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook 7-10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Drain and return to skillet. Reduce heat to low, add taco seasoning and ¼ cup water and let simmer 1-2 minutes.
  5. Fill taco bowl with salad, ground beef, cheese, corn, tomato and avocado.
  6. Make dressing: Combine 2 Tbsp. salsa (drain excess liquid) with 1/2 cup True Goodness® by Meijer™ ranch dressing. Top salads with dressing.


Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories 595, Fat 26g, Cholesterol 147mg, Sodium 917mg, Carbohydrate 21g, Fiber 8g, Protein 48g